Guantanamo Bay Naval Base

From WikiAlpha
Jump to: navigation, search

The United States maintains a military base the Guantanamo Bay Naval Base, in Cuba.[1] In 1898 Spain maintained a large overseas empire, that included what is now Cuba, Puerto Rico, the Phillippines, Guam, American Samoa, the American Virgin Islands, and some smaller holdings. Almost all of Spain's overseas empire was seized by the USA during the Spanish-American War. Cuba was granted a limited independence in 1903, and the new Cuban government signed a treaty that allowed the USA to maintain a large naval base in Guantanamo Bay.

The treaty

The 1903 Treaty of Relations commits the US and Cuba to negotiate a lease for coaling and naval stations, to be used for as long as necessary. There is no explicit end date for the lease. A lease was sucessfully negotiated for two areas, Bahia Honda and Guantanamo. As long as the US occupies these areas, it is required to pay Cuba $2000 in US gold coin. The lease allows the USA to use the areas for coaling and naval stations, and for no other purpose

When Fidel Castro administration took power in Cuba in 1959, the first check was cashed, possibly to fund a fishing cooperative at Guantanamo. No subsequent checks have been accepted or cashed.


The base covers 45 square miles on both the East and West shores of Guantanamo Bay. The North shore remains in Cuban hands. When originally seized drinking water for those occupying the base was available via springs, which have long since dried up. Potable water is either imported or distilled in a desalinization plant.

Parts of the base consist of salt-water marshes. Other regions are extremely arrid.

Tenant commands

The commander of the base has traditionally be a Captain in the United States Navy.